Craig MacGregor, longtime bassist for the renowned classic rock band Foghat, passed away peacefully Friday, February 9, 2018, in his Wyomissing home with his wife and his son by his side, he was 68. Craig had fought a valiant battle with lung cancer since the summer of 2015. Married in 1989, he was the loving husband of Lisa L. (LaTona) MacGregor and proud father of Collin MacGregor, Verona, NJ. He is also survived by his nephews Nicholas and Matthew Diani, and Andrew and Sean McKechnie of New Jersey.
Born September 13, 1949 in Sioux City, IO, and raised in Milford, CT, Craig was the only son of the late Kenneth and Gene (Stout) MacGregor. Nurtured by his father who was a music teacher, Craig started playing music when he was 7 years old, beginning with piano, trumpet and drums before taking up the bass guitar. He was a member of several local bands and performed on his first big stage at the NY World's Fair in 1964 at the age of 16. He went on to join Swan, a popular Connecticut based rock band that toured nationally for many years.
In 1976, Craig joined Foghat, solidifying his place as the 'co-captain' of the rhythm section alongside drummer Roger Earl, his closest friend. He toured internationally with the band on and off for decades, recording more than a dozen albums, including the multi-platinum Live album in 1977 and his last recording, Under the Influence in 2016. In addition to Foghat, he also played with Randy & The Radiants and the Memphis Horns, The Knee Tremblers, and his solo band NosmoKing; and jammed with several bands in Berks County when he wasn't on the road.
Inspired by the likes of James Jameson and Barry Oakley, Craig placed a strong emphasis on capturing the right groove for whatever type of tune he was playing and always said "You’ve got to lay the road down before you can drive on it.” It was that groove, his insanely fast right hand, and the endless 16th notes that distinguished Craig's style, landing him the moniker of "thunder fingers" and admiration amongst his peers and fans as one of rock-n-roll's top bassists.
Recognized as one of the nicest guys in the business, Craig was always humble, approachable and so greatly appreciative of his success. He often reflected on how blessed he was to have the "best job in the world," doing what he loved. The time he had on stage was a time that he cherished, bringing joy to others and making that special connection through music; it was what kept him touring for so many decades.
Through his music travels, Craig fostered his love of the culinary arts, exploring cuisines and hanging out with chefs in the cities he visited. He was a skinny foodie who loved to eat and cook. Craig brought that love of food home to Berks County, where he quickly became known as a gourmet chef at his restaurant Pumpernickels Deli in West Reading, PA.
Craig had a strong, intuitive connection with animals, particularly dogs, and understood how "the power of a pup" could bring joy. He advocated for animal rights, and volunteered frequently at the Animal Rescue League, where he walked, trained and helped to place rescue dogs with families, including his own.
As a father, Craig shared a special connection with his son Collin, for whom he was immensely proud, taking time from the road to be an active part of his life. Craig also served as a musical mentor to Collin and other youth, speaking at public schools and guiding aspiring musicians along their careers - always doing what he could to pay it forward.
Hoping that something positive could come from his diagnosis of cancer in 2015, Craig took a personal interest in patients’ rights, advocating for state legislation and furthering awareness for lung cancer screening and transparency in medical testing.
Craig will be remembered as an authentic, kind, empathetic man who always cared for others and was grateful for the love he received in return. His smile, energy, laugh and penchant for being "on time" and present in life serves as an inspiration to others.
A visitation for Craig will be held Friday, February 16 from 4:00-6:00 pm at the Kuhn Funeral Home, Inc., 739 Penn Avenue, West Reading. Memorial services will be private at the convenience of his family.
In lieu of flowers, Craig’s family would like you to consider making a donation in Craig's name to the Fox Chase Cancer Center in support of their lung cancer research efforts, or by adopting a pet in his memory, volunteering, or making a donation to the Humane Society of America.
Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home, Inc., 739 Penn Avenue, West Reading, PA, is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be recorded at www.kuhnfuneralhomes.com.